A father once asked his daughter, “Anak, what food do you want to be served on Christmas eve?” He was surprised with the child’s answer which she mentioned after a few seconds of thinking – “Corned beef, tatay.”
Typical requests for this season would usually be ham, fried chicken, macaroni salad.. or puto bungbong, leche flan and bibingka for Pinoys. But yes, at the age of eight the girl simply asked for a dish which could always be served on ordinary days.
The father did not bother ask why, but there was a smile on his face. Definitely, her daughters request is something he would generously and lovingly grant. Ginisang corned beef con patatas was served that special evening.
I did not recall if he asked me what gift I wanted, but surprisingly after seventeen years – it was my story of the local corned beef which I asked to be part of our salo-salo that I remember most clearly.
I was happy when he served my favorite dish on that Christmas eve. And more content spending it with Tatay Ruel, Nanay Rosal, Baby Jaki and Jose Marie. I remember that night vividly at our humble house in Cabuyao, our last Christmas meal spent together – a moment worth treasuring.